VH1 Reality Show Contestant/Murder Suspect Found Dead
Ryan Jenkins, the VH1 reality-show competitor suspected of having murdered his wife in California, was found dead in a hotel in British Columbia and preliminary evidence indicates he committed suicide, Canadian authorities announced Sunday.
Hotel staff found Jenkins' body, Sgt. Duncan Pound of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told reporters Sunday evening. Authorities had been searching for Jenkins -- a Canadian by birth -- in Canada, where they believed he had fled after reporting Fiore missing to Los Angeles cops.
The news of Jenkins' death came two days after VH1 finally threw in the towel on airing the remaining episodes of "Megan Wants a Millionaire" in which Jenkins had been a competitor.
But the Viacom-owned cable network had left open the option of telecasting another reality series, "I Love Money 3" in which Jenkins had also competed.
Jenkins was found hanged in a motel room, according to press reports. His body was discovered by motel staff and he was idenfitied by his fingerprints, according to those reports.
The discovery of Jenkins' body comes little more than a week after the naked body of Jenkins' wife, Jasmine Fiore, was found stuffed into a suitcase which had been thrown into a dumpster in Buena Park, Calif. - home of Knott's Berry Farm and not far from Disneyland.
Her fingers had been cut off in order to foil efforts to identify her; likewise her teeth had been pulled. But authorities were able to identify her body using the serial number on her silicone breast implants.
A preliminary coroner's report indicated Fiore had been strangled.
Buena Park, Calif. cops had announced Thursday they had a warrant for the arrest of Jenkins for the murder of Fiore.
Among the bits of information about Jenkins that had come to light by the time VH1 finally scrapped one - but not both - of the reality series that Jenkins:
He had been arrested in late April and charged with battery constituting domestic violence after allegedly punching Fiore. Jenkins, 32, and Fiore, 28, had married in March; according to some news reports, the marriage had been annulled.
Jenkins, who was known as the Smooth Operator on "Megan Wants a Millionaire," also had a criminal record in his hometown of Calgary Canada, having been sentenced to 15 months probation in 2007 on an unspecified assault charge.
The two deaths once again raise concerns about the slipshod vetting methods used to cast reality-TV series.
Late last week, 51 Minds -- the production company behind "Megan Wants a Millionaire," -- issued the traditional How-Did-This-Happen-When-We-Vet-Our-Guys statement.
The how-did-this-happen has become a recurring character in the ongoing drama about reality show participants who turn out to be of varying shades of skankitude. It was first introduced in 2000, when The Smoking Gun Web site dug up old Los Angeles Superior Court documents revealing that the guy Fox network had just sent "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" winner Darva Conger off on a cruise with had been accused of roughing up and threatening to kill a girlfriend several years earlier, though he was never charged with a crime.
The 51 Minds' version of the statement went like this:
51 Minds was not aware of Ryan Jenkins' record when it cast him on "Megan Wants a Millionaire." Obviously, if the company had been given a full picture of his background, he would never have been allowed on the show.
The company did have in place what it thought was a thorough vetting process that involved complete background checks by an outside company for all contestants on its shows. Clearly, the process did not work properly in this case.
FYI, 51 Minds is the production company behind many of VH1's so-called "celebreality" hits. And, since last April, reality-TV production behemoth Endemol has had a controlling interest in 51 Minds.
You've probably seen Endemol's work: the company produces NBC's "Deal or No Deal," ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and CBS' "Big Brother."
Meanwhile, 51 Minds has enriched our lives with "The Surreal Life," which got its start on WB broadcast network in '03, then migrated to VH1.
51 Minds is exclusive to VH1 and has also coughed up "Surreal Life "spinoffs "Strange Love," "My Fair Brady," "The Surreal Life Fame Games," "Flavor of Love," and "I Love New York."
When the connection between Fiore's murder and Jenkins first came to light last Wednesday, VH1 quickly passed the buck to 51 Minds, issuing the following statement:
Ryan Jenkins was a contestant on "Megan Wants a Millionaire" -- an outside production, produced and owned by 51 Minds, that is licensed to VH1.
This show completed production at the end of March. Given the unfortunate circumstances, VH1 has postponed any future airings. This is a tragic situation and our thoughts go out to the victim's family.
Jenkins was just one of the "millionaires" on the series which VH1 had been pitching as follows -- before things got "unfortunate," that is:
Blonde bombshell and "celebreality" vixen, Megan Hauserman is looking for love -- but not with any average Joe. Megan has her eye, mind and heart set on one type of man . . . a millionaire! Unfortunately, Megan's had her heart broken by Bret Michaels in "Rock of Love 2" and lost out on the million dollar check in "I Love Money." But now she's back with vengeance to find both love and money with the goal of becoming the ultimate trophy wife. . . . One by one, Megan will eliminate the guys who can't shell out the dough, until the ultimate millionaire is left.
Lisa de Moraes
August 23, 2009; 11:33 PM ET
Categories: TV News
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